C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Crime Imperfect
Yet another bid to break ATM
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu/TNS

Chandigarh, July 19
In yet another bid, miscreants tried to break ATM (automatic teller machine) of the State Bank of Patiala at Sector 35 in the wee hours here today. This was the third incident in the city this month.

Though miscreants had never been able to take cash from ATMs, the police had failed to achieve any breakthrough in half-a-dozen incidents reported in the recent past. Even CCTV cameras installed in cabins of certain ATMs had not proved to be of much help as miscreants covered their faces with masks.

The absence of security guards at many ATMs was also said be a contributory factor behind such frequent attempts. A bank official said ATMs were equipped with strong security features and there was no reported incident of any miscreant ever taking away cash from those.

But their desperate attempts had caused extensive damage to the machines, leaving those redundant for a couple of days. An engineer with the company which provided the ATM said the machines had been programmed in such a manner that the money could only be withdrawn by using electronic coding. “If anyone tries to break open the machine, he will not be able to get cash as the machine will damage the notes,” he asserted.

The incident was detected around 10:15 am, when someone went to the ATM to withdraw money. The police was informed, which reached the spot with forensic experts and a dog squad.

The robbers caused extensive damage to the machine this time. They managed to break open the electronic lock and broke the front hood, the chester and the upper cover of the machine. They also used matchboxes to burn certain parts.

The SHO of the Sector 36 police station, inspector Anokh Singh, said a daily diary report was entered and the matter was being looked into.

l On July 4, an unidentified youth wearing a mask made a bid at the State Bank of Patiala ATM in Sector 21

l On July 11, an attempt was made at the ATM of Canara Bank in Sector 35

l On March 25, parts of an air-conditioner were stolen from the ATM of State Bank of India in Sector 30

l On October 16 last, an attempt was made at the ATM of Dena Bank in Sector 7s

l On June 26, 2008, a drunk man was caught trying to break the ATM of State Bank of India in Sector 7

l On January 1, 2006, six armed men shot a man, suspecting him to be a security guard, in an attempt to loot an ATM in Mani Majra



Netting innocence, pocketing profits
Innovators promise exposure to budding cricketers
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
“Want to earn quick bucks? Just organise a national or foreign trip for budding cricketers.” This tested mantra of minting money is being adopted by ‘innovative businessmen’ in the city and its periphery by and large nowadays.

Cashing in on the craze for the game, ‘entrepreneurs’ who have been associated with the game in one way or the other are charging handsome amounts from unsuspecting parents of budding cricketers in the name of international exposure. But in the name of international exposure, the budding cricketers are made to play against local-level teams of any foreign country.

These days, the favourite destinations are Malaysia, England, Nepal, Bangladesh and Australia. The organisers include small-time cricket academies, coaching centres and some private players.

Some of those who have no links in foreign countries organise tournaments within the country and take teams to far-flung towns like Goa, Pune and Hyderabad. The idea is: the farther the venue, the bigger the charges.

The charges for foreign trips range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh per member while the cost of a trip within the country starts from Rs 20,000. On the other hand, organisers not only enjoy the trips free of cost, but also pocketed several lakhs per trip.

Talking on the issue, BCCI Secretary MP Pandove stated that many so-called cricket promoters had been befooling the people in the name of cricket.

“Parents should know that any cricket team can visit a foreign country only for a BCCI-sponsored tournament or with the permission of the Union Sports Ministry. There is no validity of any other tournament. Though I am not sure, these organisers take teams on tourist visa, just like travel agents, and exploit budding players,” he said.



GMADA notices to religious establishments 
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
To check encroachments by various religious establishments on the public land worth crores of rupees in Mohali, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has issued notices to at least 30 religious institutions in the town. The organisations have been asked to explain their position in the next two weeks.

The illegal structures included 15 temples and 15 gurdwaras located in different parts of the town. Estate officer Balbir Singh said before starting the proceedings, another opportunity would be given to the organisations to represent their cases.

It would be seen whether they fulfil the criteria laid down by the housing department.

Sources reveal that of the 70 such establishments in the city, 30 exist on public land and have not sought permission from the government. Some of the premises are being rented out for commercial activity. Till date, the government has not decided about what it should do in these cases.

As per the existing allotment policy, sites are allotted on leasehold basis at a rate of Rs 6 per sq yard per annum. Recently six such sites have been allotted by GMADA. In an effort to check misuse of the sites, GMADA has decided that the ownership of the land as well as building constructed would continue to vest with GMADA, and the site allotted would not be used for any other purpose.

Earlier, most of the religious places in the old sectors were constructed illegally. Residents of new sectors have demanded land allotments on the lines of allotments made for community centres, dispensaries, schools and other community centres in the city.

Meanwhile, representatives of the religious establishments, who have been issued the notices, led by NK Sharma, chairman, District Planning Board, JS Bhullar, SAD’s Mohali president, and Hardeep Singh, an SGPC member, today took up the matter with the Punjab Chief Minister.

JS Bhullar, who is also a member of the coordination committee of the Mandir and Gurdwaras, said he had demanded that the structures should be regularised at the allotment rates prevailing at the time of the construction of the structures.

Hardeep Singh said, “If the government can allot land to educational institutions on nominal fee, similar gesture can be applied for religious structures.”



Collegians more savvy on STDs than other ailments
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
College goers in the city may have taken American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa’s 1992 song, ‘Let’s talk about sex baby…’ rather too seriously. Well, that is what it appears from a recent study conducted by the Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, which reveals when it comes to awareness of health issues sex related diseases top the list and other illnesses, including heart and dental, being relegated to lower slots.

Though the aim of the study, funded by the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, was to evaluate levels of health awareness and knowledge of consumer rights in health delivery systems among the city’s college students, the data has thrown up some interesting facts. The study involved 745 students from various city colleges that included GGSC (Sector 26), DAV (Sector 10) and SGGC (Sector 26).

Various parameters were set for assessing the level of awareness among students and a five-mark questionnaire was prepared for assessment. The subjects dealt with were broadly about heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS, pregnancy and family planning and general health, including dental care and hygiene.

The study revealed students were more aware about sex related diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and AIDS. Over half of the students were aware about STDs and AIDS and in five colleges every student scored about 3 out of 5. The results were similar on issues relating to pregnancy and family planning with students scoring 4 out of 5.

However, awareness of predisposing factors of heart disease as well as general awareness on cancer prevention was “less than desirable”. According to the survey, baseline level awareness about heart diseases was less than 50 percent in three colleges including GGSC, SGGC (both in Chandigarh) and GC in Mohali.

Surprisingly, awareness about general health measures including dental care was very low. In three colleges the students scored less than two marks, indicating the low levels of their knowledge.

Talking to The Tribune on the other part of the study that dealt with assessing students’ awareness of consumer rights in the health delivery system, Dr Anju Huria, head of the gynaecology department at GMCH, said it was low across the board. She said in order to make students more aware of their rights as consumers, since private healthcare is growing in proportions, it was necessary to introduce a chapter or two on this issue in the curriculum.

Noting the study could have covered more colleges, Huria regretted the fact that principals of government colleges in particular were reluctant to give permission for conducting the survey. So it would seem that while students are talking sex the principals are still shying away from the topic.



Gallantry in khaki gets quota
Admission Of Awardees’ Dependants To Professional Colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
According to a directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the wards, dependants and spouses of all those awarded the police gallantry medal by the President or the ministry will now get reservation in admission to various professional colleges under the UT administration.

According to the latest communication received by the office of the Home Secretary, they will be considered eligible for the existing 5 per cent quota provided to sons, daughters and spouses of military and paramilitary personnel.

The decision comes in response to the administration’s request sent to the ministry, demanding the inclusion of police gallantry awardees in the quota.

The request, according to sources, was made after various gallantry award winners submitted representations to the UT administration, demanding their inclusion in the quota.

According to them, while their dedication and gallantry stood equal to the armed forces, their wards got no preference in admission to colleges, specially engineering ones.

“We had got a couple of representations in this regard. We had drafted a proposal and sent it to the ministry. We have finally got approval. The reservation will give due benefit to meritorious police personnel who had complained of their gallantry being ignored during the admission process,” claimed a senior official.

With counselling for most of the cases being already over, the implementation of reservation during this academic session was yet to be notified.



Rodrigues’ ex-ADC ‘swung’ key admn decisions
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The larger-than-life figure of Maj Nirvikar Singh, ex-ADC to former Punjab governor & UT administrator Gen SF Rodrigues, who along with his mother and brother were booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a disproportionate assets case, loomed large over the UT administration during his four year tenure from 2005.

Nirvikar, who was considered to be Rodrigues’ blue-eyed boy, emerged as a virtual parallel power centre in the administration and reportedly influenced major decisions though his position was merely ceremonial.

In fact, the decisions taken by the administration on the controversial ‘mega’ projects such as the Medicity, Film City, amusement park and the Prideasia mini township in IT Park, considered to be Rodrigues’ brainchild, coincided with the extended tenure of the high profile army officer in Raj Bhavan.

Incidentally, while two of these projects - Film City and Amusement Park - are under the CBI’s scanner the Prideasia project has become mired in controversy with the Chandigarh Housing Board and the promoters, Parsvnath Developers, appointing arbitrators to decide the disputed case. However, Medicity is still confined to the files.

The CBI recently booked Nirvikar, his mother Kiran Singh and brother Jagrut Singh on charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. It estimated the worth of their assets at Rs 9.32 crore against their income of Rs 2.93 crore.

Most of these assets in real estate in Delhi and Gurgaon were allegedly bought by the three between 2007 and 2009, when Nirvikar wielded considerable influence in Chandigarh owing to his proximity to Rodrigues.

Besides this, Nirvikar and his family also owe money to a real estate company Emerald Estates, which is based in New Delhi.

It was earlier alleged that, at the instance of Rodrigues, Nirvikar was given a two-year extension at the Punjab Raj Bhavan “against the army rules, which clearly state an ADC’s tenure would strictly be for two years following which he would revert to his regiment.”

In January 2009 Nirvikar reportedly “managed” another extension in his deputation from the army for two years to the central government, being on ‘extra regimental employment’ for almost six consecutive years, including four years at Raj Bhavan.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the prime minister, Congress party city councillor Devinder Babla has demanded a CBI inquiry into Rodrigues’ role in the ‘mega’ projects.


Sec-17 parking project caught in gridlock
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The Chandigarh municipal corporation’s much touted pilot project of multi-level parking in Sector 17 has been hanging fire for the past four years.

Inordinate time taken by the authorities to hand over the land allotted for the construction of parking to the builders has led to the delay.

The corporation has been unable to get its own land, which was encroached upon by the Chandigarh administration by constructing an electricity substation on it, vacated in the last four years.

In fact, the corporation had paid Rs 2.15 crore last year to the administration to vacate the land by shifting the substation, but the work had so far not been completed.

In 2007, the project of first multilevel parking on build-operate-transfer basis was approved at the MC house meeting.

As per the estimates, the cost of the parking project was around Rs 60 crore. The lot was planned to provide space to park around 1,500 vehicles.

Records show that in 2005, a proposal was mooted at a finance and contracts committee meeting for the construction of three multi-level parking lots in Sector 17. After which, a survey was conducted on the increase in the number of vehicles in the city.

On the basis of the survey, the house committee decided that initially a single parking would be constructed in Sector 17, following the success of which two more parking lots were to be constructed later on.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria stated that they were hopeful of completing the work on shifting of substation in the next two months and hand over the land to the contractor for commencing the work on the multi-level parking.

Sources in the corporation said ever since the day of allotment of the project, the contractor had been asking to increase the floor area ratio and increase in the BOT period of the contract.


2005 F&CC moots


2007 House approves


2008 Project pending with

UT chief architect dept

2009 Row over shifting of

substation to some

other place

2010 Substation yet to be




5 new AC buses to roll out today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Five new air-conditioned buses will hit city roads tomorrow. Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) director ML Sharma said 35 more such buses were to be inducted into the CTU’s fleet by Independence Day. The new air-conditioned buses will have more seats in comparison to the existing fleet of AC buses. The floor of buses can be lowered to touch the road so that those with medical problems can board the bus with ease.

Even those using wheelchairs will be able to board these buses along with their wheelchair, added the director.

A letter is being written to the Chandigarh administration to make requisite changes to bus queue shelters so that people using wheelchair could wait for buses without any inconvenience, he said.

Several bus queue shelters in the city are without ramps to help those on wheelchair reach the bus queue shelter with ease.

70 staffers promoted

The CTU departmental committee has promoted 70 staffers at different levels, including helpers, fitters, supervisors and inspectors. No backlog in this regard was left as of now, said the director.



‘Project Foundation’ to tide over health problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The UT health department has recently launched a new venture “Project-Foundation” with an aim to address local health problems and create awareness about public health.

Dr Manjit Singh Bains, director, health services-cum-mission director, NRHM, UT, Chandigarh, said it was a maiden venture. He appealed to people to participate and join hands in assisting the administration to make villages ideal as per the National Health Programmes.

He said, about 12 programmes-National Iodine Deficiency Control Programme, National Programme for Control of Blindness, National Leprosy Eradication Programme, Non-communicable Disease Control Programme, Reproductive Child Health, Immunisation, Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, AIDS Control Programme and AYUSH had been launched in two villages under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

A specific plan has been formulated under each programme to attain the status of an ideal village. Intensive IEC activities are also being carried out in the respective areas through surveys, announcements, posters, and puppet shows.

He said during the implementation of the programme, a local work force would be generated which would continue to work for the programme. In this manner, all villages would be covered in a cyclic fashion.



Councillor’s son injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
Son of local councillor landed in a hospital after the Toyota Innova he was driving crashed into a bus queue shelter in Phase V here last night.

The victim, Suresh Kumar Lucky, who is recuperating at a local hospital, was negotiating a sharp turn when he reportedly lost control over the vehicle and crashed into the bus queue shelter after breaking a roadside mild steel railing.

Due to the impact of the collision, the front portion of the car was badly damaged. The father of the victim also runs Lucky Departmental Store at Phase V here.



MC panel meeting
Estimates for work on drain inlets approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The meeting of water supply and sewerage disposal committee of the municipal corporation was held under the chairmanship of Vijay Singh Rana here today.

It was attended by other members of the committee.

During the meeting, 17 estimates of various agenda items were approved.

The estimate for work on shifting and reconstructing road gullies due to widening of V-5 road in Sector 24; detailed estimate for the work of shifting and reconstructing road gullies due to widening of V-5 road in Sector 36-A, B, C and D; estimate for the work of shifting of road gullies due to widening of V-6 road in Sector 51; rough cost estimate for shifting of road gullies due to widening of V-5 road in Sector 51 and rough cost estimate for reconstruction of new road gullies due to widening of V-6 road in Sector 34 C and D were approved at the meeting.



Punjab border areas to have mobile health services
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 19
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Health Department to provide mobile hospital services in the border and kandi areas, which had remained deprived of medical facilities as doctors failed to reach such places.

The direction was given to Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla by the Chief Minister while addressing a gathering after flagging off 39 ambulances equipped with first-aid facilities on the premises of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).

He said Ranbaxy had already given eight mobile hospital vans and each would have two doctors, two staff nurses and every type of equipment required for treatment. These mobiles hospitals would cover areas that remained neglected because doctors could not reach there.

Badal asked Chawla to prepare a special scheme for providing medical facilities in the border and kandi areas and assured that there would be no dearth of funds in this regard.

He suggested that health cards of people should be prepared after carrying out various blood tests and X-rays reports every year. As the department was short of staff, work could be got done by taking services of a private company. This data would help doctors to easily diagnose a disease at the time of treatment.

Badal further said a massive project worth Rs 346 crore had been prepared for upgrading health infrastructure. The Hospitals Services Consultancy Corporation, a Government of India undertaking, had been engaged for the preparation of the concept design and detail estimate of health institutions that were proposed to be constructed under this project. He said 746 doctors, medical specialists and dentists had been recruited to overcome shortage of staff, especially in the rural segment.

The CM said the education sector was also being given due importance by the government. Two universities, Central University at Bathinda and a world class university in Amritsar, were coming up besides 13 degree colleges and eight polytechnic institutes to provide quality education to the youth in the state.

The Health Minister said the ambulances flagged off were referral ambulances, which would be used to transfer emergency patients from the rural areas to community health centres and from there to district or subdivisional hospitals.

She said the Health Department would soon introduce an emergency response service and briefly outlined the successful implementation of the concept of institutional deliveries, drug de-addiction, school health programme besides special efforts initiated to control cancer by setting up a population-based cancer registry in Government Medical College, Patiala.

Among those present on the occasion were Principal Secretary to the CM DS Guru, Morinda MLA Ujjagar Singh Badali, Chairman of the District Planning Committee NK Sharma, Adviser to the CM DS Cheema, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Satish Chandra and MD (PHSC) Raji P Srivastva.



Special drive to check water-borne diseases
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 19
In order to check spread of water-borne and vector-borne diseases during the rainy season, the health department has launched a special drive in the district.

A joint team comprising the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, the Executive Engineer, HUDA, and officials of the heath department are conducting random survey of various parts in the city, including the slum areas of the city, to check the cases of water-borne diseases.

Stating this to The Tribune, Civil Surgeon Rakesh Chaudhary said the drive would aim at curbing bacterial and other diseases by initiating all preventive measures for which the health authorities had been asked to make elaborate plans and also to generate awareness amongst the masses.

Chaudhary said fever of various types and other water-borne diseases, along with malaria and dengue, were quite common during rainy seasons and it was the moral duty of the authorities concerned to take appropriate steps that were in the best interest of the general populace.

He said surveys were also being conducted in various slum areas, including Budhanpur, Rajeev Colony and Madrasi colony, to check water pipes leakages or the merging of sewage into the drinking water.

He said people were being asked not to allow accumulation of rainwater in the vicinity of their houses and to make sure that pits in their surroundings were covered with mud to prevent collection of water in them.

He further said chlorine tablets were being distributed free of cost to the residents of the slum areas. He said people have been asked to put one chlorine tablet into 20 litres of water to make it safe.

He said public health centres in the rural areas, including Raipur Rani, Barwala, Kalka and Pinjore, have been asked to keep a close watch in this regard.



Plantation drive at primary school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Rare varieties of medicine and herbal plants were planted along with some fruit and shady tree saplings at Government Primary School, Burail, here today.

Social activist and environmentalist Dolly Dhillon Gujral, along with the teachers of the school, created a miniature herbal garden and told children about the importance of trees.

Potted herbal and medicinal plants were distributed among children with the pledge of looking after them.



Contractual Lecturers
UT to make candidates’ score public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
After having rechecked the credentials of candidates who had appeared for interviews of contractual lecturers in city government colleges, UT higher education department will make their concerned score public and take up the objections, if any.

The list that will be posted online on July 21 will have each candidate’s score out of 80, calculated on the basis of the academic and experience certificates submitted.

The score of interviews, which has been calculated out of 20, shall however, be withheld till the declaration of final results.

“On our part, we have already checked everything and candidates have been marked for their academic and experience certificates. The scoring has been done as per the specified scale. We will make this score, which forms 80 per cent of the applicant’s merit, public. The applicants can go through it and in case of discrepancy can put up a representation with the department,’ said Ajoy Sharma, director, higher education.

The representation will then be taken up by the director, higher education, and necessary rectification will be done in the score.

The final merit list will then be declared after July 31, after the interviews of SC/ OBC candidates.

“The final merit will be declared only after the interview on July 31. The department had to declare reservation during interviews and thus we will have another interview. The final merit will, however, be declared only after it,” added Sharma.



Award ceremony at Khalsa College
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 19
Khalsa College organised a golden jubilee honour ceremony to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of its establishment on the college campus here today.

Series of functions were being organised for the past three days to commemorate the occasion.

Member of Parliament Balwinder Singh Bhundar was the chief guest, while SGPC president Avtar Singh presided over the ceremony.

Bhundar congratulated the principal, organising committee, staff and students and lauded the initiatives undertaken by the college to uphold Sikh values and heritage, in addition to offering job-oriented courses to students.

He granted Rs 10 lakh for development works at the college. Avtar Singh also announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the college.

Avtar Singh and Bhundar released a book, “General Shivdev Singh Diwan Gurbachan Singh Khalsa College Patiala: Mudh Ton Hun Tak” published by the college depicting its history. Principal Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha is the chief editor, vice-principal Prof Ambika editor and Dr Pushpinder Kaur co-editor of the book.

During the ceremony, old students - Dronacharaya awardee Sukhchain Singh, first Indian Sikh woman representative in hockey at Moscow Olympics Balwinder Kaur, former civil surgeon of Government Hospital, Moga, Dr Surinder Kaur, internationally acclaimed economist Dr Amarjeet Singh Oberoi, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions member Dr Mohinder Singh and Arjuna awardee Manjit Walia - were given “College Ratan Awards”.

College founders Dr Ganda Singh, Padmashri Dr Khushdeva Singh, and others were honoured with golden jubilee mementoes.

Dr Ubha said the SGPC chief had given approval to new courses like MA (English), MCom, another unit of MBA, MCA, MSc (physics), MSc (chemistry), master’s in accounting and finance, innovative courses of UGC and “International Journal of Sikh Studies”, first online Sikh journal, to be started in the college in the near future.

Sufi poet Lakhwinder Vadali mesmerised the audience with his renditions. College faculty were also honoured with golden jubilee mementoes.



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